Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Did I Mention?

As usual, when there is a lot going on, I completely fail to post. Even though we've had three very eventful weekends in a row and I have tons of fun pictures to share, I've not managed to transfer any of it to the computer. We've got one more crazy weekend before things settle down (sort of) for another couple of weeks. This summer is absolutely flying by...

I don't know about you but I always have a bunch of posts in the back of my head, or sometimes listed in a notebook somewhere, that I intend to write but never quite get around to - well one that I've been sitting on for almost two years has to do with this picture:

That's a photo of my younger brother (by nearly nine years!), Jamie, and his fiance, Molly. The picture was taken two years ago - I think on the very day they got engaged, though my memory is a little fuzzy on that. 

So yes, I have been meaning to write about this for nearly two years, but I'm finally getting around to it because the wedding is this weekend! My little brother is getting married this weekend, which is sort of equal parts weird and wonderful.

We love Molly - from the very beginning it was easy to see that she was a good fit for our family. We really could not ask for a sweeter, kinder, sister to add to our bunch. She's also funny and smart and a very good match for my kind, funny, smart kid-brother. 

Congratulations to Jamie and Molly! Surely I'll have pictures to post, and more thoughts as well, after this weekend. Especially since Harper is going to be a flower girl (wish us luck!).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Difficult, This Parenting Is...

I have a slew of things I want to write about today (I almost wrote "whole slew" but is there such a thing as a partial slew? I don't know, this is why I'm not an editor.) but first and foremost on my mind right now is that I am having a very frustrating day.


My children don't listen to me, and they argue (All the time with the arguing!), and they don't put things away, and today Harper told me I was lazy... I deserve a gold medal for not taking her head off right then and there.

Oh you guys, I know this is all normal stuff, blah, blah, blah. But man, it can really wear a person down. There are moments, just moments mind you, when I am just at the brink and I look around and think, "How did this get to be my life?" And, of course, there are the opposite kind of moments, like these, when everything seems wonderful and rosy and I wish it would take much much longer to pass than it is actually taking.

Listen to all these unique feelings I'm having about motherhood!

These last few summers have been angst-ridden as I've looked for jobs and applied for jobs and even had a couple of interviews - and yet, no job. And in many ways I'm very happy to have no job (outside the home) just now. We are once again in a place where our lives could look drastically different in 2.5 months and I would like to mentally prepare for that. But if I mentally prepare for that, before something actually changes, then I just have to get my brain to do a u-turn to feel happy (as I do, in theory, right now) to continue this stay at home gig. The mental/emotional gymnastics I'm doing over here are exhausting.

I try, really really try, to be more zen about what is going to happen. I keep saying that I'm good either way, job or no job, and that is true. But I'm better if I know which way it is going to be. And these teaching things? Often still unresolved in August - why school districts? Why?


Yesterday we were at a playground and a "big kid" (11? 12?) was on a part of the playground equipment that I think of as a zip line and Michael walked beneath it. She ended up kicking him in the face, knocking him off his feet, and sending his head toward the platform she was supposed to land on. I just happened to look up and see it happen and it was a truly horrific moment. The kind that will be etched into my brain forever. Residing right next to the time he fell over in Lake Michigan and could not get up for what was probably a couple of seconds, but felt like an eternity.

He's fine, but has a giant goose egg on the top of his head. No bleeding and no concussion, but my stomach turned when I felt that thing. And I did call our doctor's office because neither of my kids has ever had a huge bump on the top of his or her head before - it freaked me out just a little bit. Kids' bodies are kind of amazing, no?


I was just thinking that there were a couple of things Michael's been saying lately that I hadn't written down yet. Did I mention how, when he wants you to read an entire book (versus just one story in it) he'll ask you to, "Read it all up?"

He also seems unable to grasp the pronoun, "us," and says, "we," instead. For example, I might say, "We're going to the zoo!" And he might ask, "Are all of we going?" Or if he sees I made a dessert he might ask, "Is it for we?"


I kind of hate to bury this link at the bottom of the post, so I may post it again someday... but it appears that I have found my people.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

First of Many?

I have always been a music lover and, since the children were born, I have looked forward to the day when one of them might be able to enjoy a live performance with me. Harper has already been to many stage performances, plays of the musical and non-musical variety, but tonight was her first concert.

It felt like kind of a big decision to attend, not because of ticket expense (it was $2 Tuesday!), but because the show didn't begin until 8 p.m. - otherwise known as bedtime for Harper. But, again, for $2 I figured even if we only made it through the first hour, that was a pretty good return on our investment. So we packed up the picnic blanket (the venue has a lawn) and some snack bags and hit the road.

I don't know if any of you watched The Sing-Off this winter - the groups we were going to see both performed on the show. We saw our local high school a cappella group as well as Committed, the winners of season two.

The venue is an outdoor one, so we spread our blanket on the lawn and settled in for an evening of great music. I had a small shock when the high school group named their members and I realized one of  the students from my very first first-grade class was up there performing. The friend sitting next to me asked whether I felt proud or old and the answer was, "Both!" This particular student was the type that had a difficult time with the restrictions of a traditional classroom and he and I and his parents worked together to make sure he had a successful year in first grade - he was so creative and intelligent, I used to say I knew he would do great things if he survived his formal schooling! What a treat it was to see him up there performing, all grown up and wowing the crowd.

Harper loved the music and was entertaining the people around us with her wacky dancing. Over the course of the evening it got dark, the moon rose to the right of the stage, and Harper snuggled into my lap. The air grew cooler and we wrapped ourselves up in the blanket as the stars began to appear. A child after my own heart, Harper hung in there until the very last song.

I imagine this night will be just one blip on the timeline of Harper's childhood memories, folded in and blurred among picnics, park days, basketball games, library visits, and probably too much television. I, on the other hand, will never forget the experience of being bundled up under the inky night sky, sharing one of my favorite experiences with my daughter for the very first time.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Might Be Open for Business

Harper has turned her room into an office. She piled some throw pillows and blankets on her bed, sits there with her lap desk, and "works". Last night she slept on her floor so her bed could be her new couch (since the couch is a desk). Tonight, thankfully, she moved back to sleeping in the bed.

As all good offices should, Harper's office has signs* on the door:

If you click on that photo above, you can probably read some of the signs, but just in case you are having trouble doing so, here is a closer look at my favorite:

I'll translate, just in case your kindergarten spelling is rusty, "Yell in room before entering if no yell back I am not in."

There you go.

*Tonight, before bed, Harper added a not-originally-pictured sign. It says, "sleepping". I imagine she'll take that one down in the morning.

Thank Yous

In what has become an end-of-the-school-year ritual for us, we spent the final days of school making note cards and writing thank you notes to our teachers. It was quite an event this year - in the waning days of school we sat down and Harper made a list of people from her school she wanted to make notes for. Here is the list:
  • principal
  • classroom teacher
  • reading aide
  • counselor
  • librarian
  • music teacher
  • gym teacher
  • school secretary
  • school nurse
She wanted to give each person a set of handmade note cards and write each of them a thank you note. She was up until 10:00 the night before the last day of school writing!

We LOVED how the cards turned out this year; she painted/stamped a few but mostly drew with colored pencils. The following information totally falls under the category of items that probably aren't interesting to you but I want to record because my memory is so horrendous... Here are some of the things Harper drew: a girl on stage singing into a microphone, a girl climbing a mountain, wedding items (she's going to be a flower girl in July), a rocket blasting off from earth, a chick (as in fuzzy, yellow chick) going to school, and a teacher at a chalkboard saying, "Booooys..." (asking the boys to pay attention/be quiet). Many of the drawings were labeled which only added to their charm. I wish I had thought to scan some of the images...

She wrote some hilarious things in her thank you notes as well - and I hope it is clear that the messages were 100% her own. Some of my favorite quotes were:

"Thank you for teaching me to be strong in my body." (for the gym teacher)

"I really liked the song about Charlie, did you make it up?" (for the music teacher)

"You are pretty, I like your colorful dresses." (for the counselor)

"You are handsome every day. Did you know I want to be a principal?" (for the principal)

It strikes me that things I find kind of sweet from a six-year-old would be terribly inappropriate if  I'd written them... but surely no adult could be offended by a note in six-year-old writing saying they are good-looking, right? (I hope!) I hated to censor her thoughts since she did such a nice job of writing them herself (the first time it hasn't been like pulling teeth.)

Michael is still pretty much in the land of scribble/doodling and not yet writing his own notes so there isn't quite a much to report on that front. His speech teacher used one of the notes he made to thank him for the notes (did you follow that?) and then he wanted to write on it and send it back to her. He still asks us at night whether there will be school in the morning.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

More Odds and Ends (mostly about the USPS)

I stayed up waaaay too late Monday night getting the following assortment of packages ready to be mailed:

Some of them are more difficult to distinguish than others so I will tell you that there were seven different items there, as well as some letters that were already prepped for mailing that came along for the ride. This means that some of you might be getting mail from me this week - bet you wish you knew who you were...

In what can only be described as a post office miracle I walked into our local branch at 9 a.m. the first business day after a holiday weekend and there was, wait for it, no line! I don't know what your post office experiences are like but there is usually a line ten or so deep at this particular branch and I generally do anything I can to avoid it on a Monday or a day after a long weekend. I was stunned. So stunned that when two older ladies came in behind me to buy stamps I graciously waved them ahead - how annoyed would you be if you just needed a couple of stamps and got in line behind the woman with seven packages to mail? Annoyed. 

Then I had a nice chat with the post office lady about upcoming stamp issues. That is not a joke. In other words, I am a dork. I had some of the new "love" stamps which I had preorded online (again, dork) but they didn't have in our local post office yet. She saw some on my envelopes and we spent several (dorky) moments going on about how gorgeous they are. Yes, I am a person who cares what my stamps look like. I should probably stop talking about the post office now.


I'd like to say we've been doing lots of park picnics as seen in the photo above, (Gee, kids are so attractive with their mouths full of food!), but that would be a big lie. I know the weather has been sort of universally horrendous lately but last night our local weather person informed me that we'd had rain 23 out of the first 30 days of this month - no wonder everyone feels like they are going a little insane. This also explains why yard/electrical work we've been waiting on for weeks and weeks is happening today, effectively ruining my last "child free" morning of the school year. I also invited a friend home with Harper for the afternoon, not knowing that we'd likely be without power for a good chunk of time. Guess the windowless basement playroom is out... Harper has not taken very well to the heat so the afternoon with no air conditioning should be great fun. (Yes, we have our air on - it was in the 90s here yesterday and the day before.)


About once a week for the past couple weeks we've been fortunate enough to help some friends out by babysitting their adorable baby one afternoon/week. Harper officially wants to adopt him (we said no) and Michael asks nearly every morning if he is coming that day. The last time he was here the kids entertained him with bubbles until Michael accidentally smacked the baby with the bubble wand in a fit of exuberance. Fortunately no babies or children were harmed in the bubble activity or picture taking thereof.

Who knew bubble blowing could look so gangsta'?

Or so suspicious? Do those two have a secret?


Tomorrow is the last day of school in these parts and I'm equally anticipating/dreading the summer. Some sort of massive parenting fail (on my part) is at play in our household because my children will not stop fighting unless maybe they are asleep. I am a little concerned that their fighting is going to hamper our ability to do anything fun this summer. I will keep you posted.


Speaking of school's end - these last two weeks have seriously kicked my butt. A small part of it is the re-spraining of the ankle which slowed me down considerably last week. I swear every time I turn around there is something else that needs to be done re: the end of the school year. Most of it is stuff I'm perfectly happy to do, even enjoy doing but not a) when it crops up with no notice or b) when 37 things crop up at once. Anyone else feeling a little overwhelmed with the school wind-down this year?
And if you haven't shared already, how do you plan to pass the (endless, endless) free time this summer?